2020 T.E.A.C.H and WAGE$ Virtual Forum Wrap Up


Back in early March, while working to finalize plans for the T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ National PD Symposium to be held in Chapel Hill in April, we couldn’t have known how plans would change dramatically within the next 10 days due to COVID-19. That following three weeks was a whirlwind of activity to move the Symposium online.


We are happy to report that we had the largest registration for the Virtual Symposium/Forum ever, with over 200 people attending one or more of the 17 workshops and the keynote address.


We are grateful that all of the presenters who we invited to participate graciously accepted our invitations and worked with us to ensure it all went well. Their patience and flexibility through this transition was amazing. They stepped up to be a part of the event, while at the same time, moving their work home, re-adjusting to new ways of working, and for some becoming homeschool teachers.


One of the highlights of the event was the inclusion of a robust Higher Education Track in our virtual event. Recordings of those nine (9) workshops are available on our Higher Education page here, under Resources, Addressing Barriers to Higher education – Virtual Summit (April 2020).


Workshop evaluation surveys indicate attendees were satisfied with the overall value of the workshops, the presenters’ knowledge of their topics and the format of the workshops. In fact, in spite of some limitations that meeting virtually present around meaningful discussions, each workshop included questions offered through the question box as well as some brave attendees who were willing to be unmuted and have a conversation with the presenters.


As we look to the future, there are many unanswered questions about what comes next in terms of our 2021 Symposium. Our first and foremost priorities in our decision making will be the health and safety of all involved. We will keep you informed as we learn more over the months to come.


We offer our thanks to Scholastic Education for donating dozens of children’s books that were given as door prized at each of the workshops. We appreciate their partnership!



Who Should Attend

  • T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® and Child Care WAGE$® staff.
  • Professionals supporting the professional development of the early education workforce, including non-profit organization professionals and higher education faculty.
  • Partners working in or on behalf of early education systems including state and national governmental agency personnel, funders and others working on professional development systems.


Symposium Offerings

  • Workshops and panel presentations addressing
    • Staff development and day to day operations of T.E.A.C.H. and WAGE$ initiatives
    • Broader issues of professional development, quality improvement systems, higher education, advocacy and public policy for all early childhood professionals
  • Nationally known speakers who address topics timely to the field
  • Networking opportunities with peers from across the country

If you would like to be on our mailing list to receive information about the symposium, leave a message here.


2019 Symposium Roundup


Opening Keynote Address - Transforming Early Childhood Jobs: Toward a System that Works for Early Educators, Children, and Families
Presented by: Caitlin McLean, Center for the Study of Child care Employment

What folks had to say!

  • “The information shared was valuable and I left thinking about new ways to share this information in our state and local communities."
  • "Statistical data is essential to making improvements and changes in the field."
  • "Great points were made especially about equity and the intersection of race and gender—powerful truths. The data was empowering."
  • "The information was very compelling."


Plenary Panel Presentation –What It Will Take to Move to a Bachelor’s Degree Standard for Lead Early Educators
Panelists included: T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Advisory Committee members Helen Blank, former Director of Child Care and Early Learning, National Women’s Law Center; Ana De Hoyos O’Connor, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Studies, San Antonio College; and Carol Brunson Day, President, Brunson, Phillips & Day, Inc., with Sue Russell, Executive Director of the T.E.A.C.H. National Center, unpacked and discussed the ‘Only Ifs’ around the bachelor’s degree requirement for lead teachers in early childhood classrooms.

  • Only if the requirement it is not an unfair burden on the backs of the workforce.
  • Only if diversity is maintained.
  • Only if there is enough time for the workforce to meet the standard.
  • Only if the workforce is fairy paid for the education they have received.

What folks had to say!

  • "Hearing the panelist’s discussion gives me helpful tips of ways to bring this conversation to my agency and to my committees."
  • "There were so many good answers to the questions posed by the facilitator."
  • "I loved listening to the history and knowledge of the experts."
  • "I was so impressed by the panel and their expertise."
  • "I loved all different points of view and the challenging topic."
  • "Such amazing visionaries."

Click here for 2019 Symposium Program


Previous Plenary Panel Presentation Video Links


2018 Plenary Panel featured a panel including Tracy Ehlert, former T.E.A.C.H. recipient, in home early educator and candidate for the Iowa House-District 70; Bweikia Foster Steen, Associate Professor of Education and Director of Early Childhood Programs at Trinity Washington University; and Michele Miller-Cox, former T.E.A.C.H. recipient, SAS Montessori Pre-school teacher and Adjunct Instructor at both Wake Tech Community College and NC A&T, speaking on the topic, Education is a Game Changer.

2016 Plenary Panel featured a panel including Carol Brunson Day, Brunson, Phillips & Day; Florianna Thompson, Wake Technical Community College; and Dan Haggard, New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department, in Let’s Talk About it: Issues of Race, Gender and Equity in our Everyday Lives as Early Childhood Professionals.


Previous Symposium Programs









T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® National Center would like to thank the following sponsors for their
generous support of the 2019 Symposium


Forum Program



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